Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?

In a word…. yes.

Fair warning: I am an opinionated Democrat (though I don’t often blog about it.) I’ve even stepped back the Facebook and Twittering on the election. Today’s post isn’t about changing minds or winning votes (many of you have probably early voted already)… it’s about acknowledging the answer to the question that the campaigns love to ask. To the extent that the President has impact over any of the below (which, I guess, indirectly he does), it’s relevant.

In the past 4 years, a lot has gone on in our life. House, kid, two higher ed degrees in our household, new jobs for both me and Scott… We’re a middle class family, two working parents and we live comfortably. I’m not writing this post to brag or say that since we’ve had a good 4 years, everyone else has. We’re believers in personal responsibility and the majority of the success we’ve had is because of our sacrifice, education & hard work. The government did not write my husband’s dissertation or compel us to have a child. But I do think it’s only fair to acknowledge the programs that have assisted us to get where we are; constantly criticizing the government is easy, thanking it is less popular.

My husband graduated with his PhD in 2009, with some of it financed through loans. We couldn’t consolidate them through any banks, so we turned to the US Department of Education. Instead of a crippling payment, it’s half that, and at a fixed 2.0%(ish) interest rate.

We bought a house in March of 2009. We were first-time homebuyers and received an $8,000 credit. It certainly made buying a home (in a crumby market) more attractive, enticed us to spend it on our home once we got in it. We were also the beneficiaries of a low federal interest rate, which made us owe less over the life of our loan.

Despite a bad economy and high unemployment rates, I got a job. That probably has little to do with the government, but still.

We refinanced our home under Freddie Mac program (since our house appraised low and our ownership % wasn’t high enough for most other programs. Not our fault.) Refinancing at an even lower rate saved us around 100,000 US dollars. Yes, you read that right.

I know our situation isn’t necessarily representative of the country, and that we’ve had some negative impacts as well. Our healthcare premiums have gone up, for instance.

I’m not giving Obama and the government full credit for all of the huge things we’ve done in 4 years. BUT, they were there, they deserve a shout out at least. All of the above incentives and programs, we would have done those things with or without them, but it’d have been harder without them. It seems sort of out there, but those things *actually helped* and did what they were intended to do.

So, thank you.

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